Thank you, Pat and EmpowHer, for bringing focus to the work of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. I feel compelled to clarify that I am merely one of many women who are working to turn the tide on this deadly disease. None of the work done by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is done by one person, but rather by countless volunteers and staff who devote extraordinary efforts to change the world for others. We have begun the Ovarian Cancer Movement.
I am truly honored to be asked to lead the work at this moment in our history, taking the baton from remarkable visionaries who came before me, advancing the cause until I hand it off to those who will follow. Where we are now is the result of years of effort by women and families whose dream of survival arose out of loss. It is the fuel that keeps us moving.
It was the efforts of hundreds of women, each telling her story to Congress or state offices that achieved legislative recognition of ovarian cancer month. It has taken constant collaboration between our Washington, D.C. staff and the White House to secure the Presidential Proclamation and elevate the symbolic support that the First Family can demonstrate by hanging the teal ribbon – a gesture we are still awaiting.
The credit for winning the war goes not to the officers but to the individuals who write the letters and make the calls, who walk in towns across the country in teal tee shirts pinning ribbons on total strangers, who ask neighbors to spread the word that women need not die of this terrible disease.
I am deeply moved by the selfless acts of those who struggle with their health and yet devote time to save others through their efforts. I am humbled by families who have lost their mother or sister or daughter and yet turn their bottomless grief into action to spare other families.
I am only one woman with one voice, hoping that I may encourage and empower others to unite in the greater cause of women’s health.